Promoting Fickle Fruit

Sharing a harvest with several thousand “friends.”

By Richard Banks | Photos By Jamie Cole

Tim Mercier (foreground) and son-in-law Joe Foster, represent two of the four generations now working in the family business.

Tim Mercier (foreground) and son-in-law Joe Foster, represent two of the four generations now working in the family business.

“I swear, Facebook was designed for businesses like ours,” says Joe Foster of Mericer Orchards.

Joe says that Mercier began using the social media channel last year and has since been “friended” by about 7,000 people, many of whom learned about the orchard’s Facebook presence while in the Merciers’ market. Those friends have opted to receive updates via Facebook, which is hugely helpful to a U-pick operation that grows multiple varieties of fickle fruit that don’t give much notice as to when they’ll be ready for harvest.

“Before you can promote something on the farm, you’ve got to make sure you actually have it,” he explains. Facebook gets the word out quickly in a targeted fashion to those people who’ve declared their interest in the orchard.

“Facebook is subtle advertising,” says Joe, who links friends on the social media service to the Mercier Orchards website, where the family sells many of its products. “Our customers have the luxury of skipping over it if they don’t want to see it. It’s not in their face, so to speak,” he says, realizing the irony of the statement.

“It’s just the perfect complement to everything that we do.”

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